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Ghana Teaching Seminars

An additional visit to Accra, the site of two previous training programmes, has been made by John Macdonald and Terry Treadwell, who visited the Amasa-
man Health Centre in Ghana to initiate a clinical research project regarding the treatment of Buruli Ulcer. The project is progressing slowly and another visit to the site is planned for December, 2011.


With the sponsorship of the Handicap International, Association for the Advancement of Wound Care, AAWC Global Alliance and the WHO endorsed WAWLC, teaching seminars devoted to wound and lymphedema care were conducted in Ghana, West Africa in 2009.  The faculty included Terry Treadwell, MD, Mary Jo Geyer, PT, PhD, CLT, Janice Young, RN, WOCN and John Macdonald, MD.  Samuel Etuaful, MD, from Ghana was part of the US team. 

Seminars were given in the university teaching hospitals in Kumasi and the capital, Accra.  Each seminar was scheduled for two and one half days and included didactic lectures and hands-on workshops.  The attendees included physicians, nurses and physical therapists.  Each participant was enrolled by invitation and represented hospitals from all regions in Ghana. 

Some had driven 8-10 hours over difficult terrain to attend.  We were delighted and inspired by the fervor of their involvement.  From the beginning of the seminars, we stressed that we--the "experts"--were in Ghana to learn as well as to teach.  The goal set was for this to be a "team" effort in creating wound and lymphedema centers of excellence for Ghana.  We also stressed that the format for these seminars would be used as the template for many future GIWLC teaching interventions.  Therefore, we encouraged questions, advice and critique of the educational content and style of presentation. 

The editor for the draft White Paper, "Best Practice recommendations for Wound and Lymphedema Management" works for the Noguchi Institute in Accra, Ghana.  The Noguchi Institute donated 100 spiral bound copies of the White Paper for distribution to all attendees.  Prior to our arrival in Ghana, all power point presentations were received and printed handouts were available in packets for each person.  (Find the WHO white paper here)

A review of the planning and logistics experienced in Ghana will be very important for the success of future interventions.  Each nation, obviously, is unique in culture, medical politics, government involvement, teaching facilities and travel realities. What works in Ghana may work in India or Cambodia, but the realities in Cameroon and Uganda may be totally different. ( See the report above re: Sierra Leone ). It should be noted that Ghana is --as one observer noted--"At the top of the feeding chain in Africa!".  Ghana has a solid infrastructure, superb clinicians, political stability and has an urgent need for modern wound and lymphedema management skills.  The fact that the Ghana Buruli Ulcer program is strong and run by dedicated professionals has set the stage for the success of this initiative.  The lesson derived is that in order to have success, we must explore every viable opportunity--government, traditional healers, private clinics, regional hospitals, faith based programs. Whatever works to get the message across.